Put a Label on It

When we first got the label maker, I thought we’d officially jumped onto the obsessive-compulsive train for good. Sure, we’d taken rides on that train before: trying to alphabetize our joint CD collection after we’d first moved in together and realized just how many CD’s we had collectively (thank you Apple for figuring out that one for us with the first iPod); trying to color coordinate the clothes in our closet after realizing just how many clothes we had; and don’t get me started on shoes- we both have too many and no real system for keeping them organized.

So when Alex brought home the label maker, I held my tongue. Would this be just another gadget that collected dust in our closet?

It’s old technology, reminiscent of a Polaroid camera, but it spits out labels instead of pictures. I’ve got to admit there’s something very satisfying about typing out a short description of something, and watching a sticker wiggle out of the machine like a newborn.

We labeled large containers of spices and condiments in our pantry. We labeled our Christmas stuff, now neatly organized into different bins. We labeled all of our different charger plugs that look alike but are just different enough to have to be used with their designated gadgets.

There’s almost a tendency to over-label. My wife’s parents, for example, would be dangerous with this thing. They make their own labels with scotch tape and little pieces of scribbled paper for seemingly obvious stuff already….

Come to think of it, this might just be the perfect present for them. I mean why should we have all the fun?

All aboard!



The Snake and the Stick

Along with the requisite broom, rake, or tool-kit, every house should have a hockey stick. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy; the new carbon models are definitely lighter, but an old Sherwood will do just as well.

I play hockey, so I have my hockey sticks and I have my house stick. My house stick sits in the corner of the garage and gets the occasional look from my wife like “and why are we keeping one of your beat-up old sticks around again?” Until the moment it’s needed.

“There’s a snake on our deck!” Alex screamed in astonished fear. Astonished because the snake was on a second floor deck connected to the ground below by only 4 steel poles, fear because it was a 4-foot snake and she’d be afraid of a 4-inch snake. I instantly ran out of the room. “Where are you going?” yelped Alex, not sure why I’d left her in her moment of crisis. But I wasn’t leaving her, I was just getting my trusty hockey stick. Not to kill the poor thing, just to wrangle it and fling it off my deck.

I used the length of the stick as a barrier between me and the big mottled brown snake, and I used the stick blade as a kind of spatula, but the thing was fast. It quickly slithered back to the edge of the deck and used its body in a repeated ‘S’ shape to steady itself between the brick house and the deck post below. It sat there and taunted me for a minute before I got my blade under it again and dangled it around the end of my stick. I lifted the thing up, but it slid down the stick’s shaft. It was about to slide right into my face when I quickly flung it into the grass below where it sat stunned for a minute, then slinked off into the woods.

Now, this was an extreme case and probably not the preferred tool, but it worked. So the old stick still sits in the corner waiting for its next mission.

Need a mop in a pinch? Wrap a soapy rag around the blade of a hockey stick and act like it’s game 7 of the Stanley Cup.

Need to reach that last Christmas light hooked at the end of your gutter that you’re not even sure how you got hooked up there in the first place? Hello hockey stick.

Cobweb in the top corner of your room? Use a dry rag wrapped around the blade of your stick.

Fire alarm blaring when you forgot to open the flu while starting a fire? Use the butt end of the stick and knock the thing down.

The hockey stick: Not just for hockey anymore.